TULSA, Okla. – After a fiery start for both teams right out of the gate, the UTSA men’s basketball team (7-11, 1-4 AAC) saw a close halftime score evaporate as its shooting went cold early in the second half and Tulsa (10-7, 1-4 AAC) quickly built an insurmountable lead, en route to a 107-78 final on Wednesday night at the Reynolds Center.
A furious pace was established from the opening tip with a leadoff three from Carlton Linguard Jr.just 12 seconds into the night and the Roadrunners knocked down the first two scores unanswered. Jordan Ivy-Curry floated a fast-break runner to push the Roadrunners to their biggest lead at 13-7, but that’s where familiar former LA Tech star Cobe Williams got the Golden Hurricane moving on a big offensive night. Slicing the deficit to three, Williams later hit a second three at 13:17 to produce the first Tulsa lead at 16-15. Tyshawn Archie’s three at 10:29 gave Tulsa its first two-possession lead, but Christian Tucker reeled off six consecutive points to force the half’s fourth tie at 27-27. Fueled by Isaiah Barnes, the Golden Hurricane proceeded to outscore the Roadrunners 17-5 over the next five minutes to a 12-point lead. However, UTSA spent the next two minutes on a run of their own, as Chandler Cuthrellfree throws with 4:16 to go sparked a 12-0 push that brought things even at 44-all via six shots at the line and a pair of threes from Ivy-Curry and Cuthrell.
PJ Haggerty’s three near the two-minute mark represented the seventh and final lead change. Although Tucker knocked down a pair of scores to keep it at one possession, Jared Garcia’s three with :42 on the half clock gave Tulsa a 53-48 advantage at the break. At half, UTSA showed promise on the inside, outscoring Tulsa 24-9 in the paint.
Although UTSA entered the game in the American Athletic Conference’s top three-point shooting position, Tulsa lit it up in the first half from the perimeter, making the first 6-of-7 from long range and coming away with a 10-for-16 three-point stat line in the first half. Meanwhile, the Roadrunners went 4-for-13 from deep in the opening period. Headed toward one of the best games at the line this season, UTSA was 12-of-13 at the stripe in the first half.
Coming out of the break, Tulsa’s offense only found more rhythm in making five of the first six second-half shots, while UTSA’s offense was sluggish – leading to a 21-4 outburst across the first six minutes of the half. Adding six more threes in the second half, the Golden Hurricane built their advantage to as many as 32. The Roadrunners finally got their scoring untracked with a late 9-0 run, but the Golden Hurricane pushed back to close out the 107-78 win.
Ivy-Curry added his seventh double-figure scoring performance in eight tries with 19 points against Tulsa on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 at the line, also grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Tucker added 12 points with eight assists and Trey Edmondshad 10 points.
On the night, UTSA went 19-for-23 from the free throw line for the second-best performance (82.6 percent) this year.
For the Golden Hurricane, Haggerty went 9-for-12 with a perfect 4-for-4 from the perimeter to score 25, leading a 59-percent team shooting performance on the night.
UTSA returns to the Convocation Center for a big one this weekend, hosting preseason favorite and 2023 Final Four squad, No. 23 Florida Atlantic on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. The Following week sees the Roadrunners host Tulane (Jan. 24) and travel to face South Florida (Jan. 27).
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